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Old 02-24-2021, 10:00 AM   #1
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sprung a leak...help!

I have a leak somewhere around my water heater, I think? We just arrived in Borrego Springs from Georgetown TX...I had my water drained before we left, and ran furnace at 40 all last week during freeze..did not winterize, but left faucets open and as I said, I did drain the water...now here I am out in the desert and when I turn on pump or connect to fresh water, I have pretty good drip coming out of the under carriage by the water heater, I think...dripping out the propane pipe holes and front of AS. Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot and find/fix is appreciated.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:06 PM   #2
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I had a somewhat similar leak after a long trip last year. Turned out to be a leaky pex pipe or fitting near the water pump. If you can access the pump and give it a visual you may find a leak there. At the time mine was under warranty so had dealer repair it when I got back home. Dealer made it easier to access fittings as it looked like a tangled mess of pipes and fittings from the factory. Good luck and let us know what you find
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:12 PM   #3
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Ck the pressure relief valve on the WH.
Open & snap it closed several times. Make sure it's seated.

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Old 02-25-2021, 03:28 AM   #4
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Good suggestions. Sorry to say, but if you did not fully winterize the trailer during that very deep freeze in Texas, you may have some broken pipes someplace IMO. Get "eyes on" every bit of plumbing you can see, including under beds, sofas, dinette seating etc., and look for further evidence IMO.

You can stick a phone camera into all kinds of spaces, with flash on, and get photos of those odd-ball spaces. Most phones have a way of operating the shutter manually, so the length of your arm is the main limit here IMO. On an iPhone, with the ringer volume on, you can use the volume up/down buttons to trip the shutter, and the phone will make a shutter-clicking sound, as well as "fire the flash bulb" . . . . . . so you know that the shot was successful.

Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:33 AM   #5
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Did you drain the water heater tank?
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:50 AM   #6
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Borescope

I use an borescope to look inside walls. They are a handy item to keep in the tool bag. The type that uses your phone's screen are inexpensive.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you had access to the gear you would use to perform the blow-out method of winterization, would pressurizing the system cause a leak to hiss loud enough to find it?

My AS was sitting in my driveway during the storm but fully winterized. However, it was my first attempt to winterize so I don't know if I did it right.

I do plan to pressurize the system as mentioned above but with one change. I'll add a hose bib splitter at the city water inlet, attach the compressor to side A of the splitter, and attach a pressure gauge to side B of the splitter. Then with both splitter valves open, pressurize the system to 45 PSI as measured at valve B, close valve A, and pray that the pressure gauge at valve B does not budge.

I've also wondered if there was a way to introduce a visual aid into the air being compressed into the system so that the break would leak out tinted air that would be easy to see with the borescope.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
I do plan to pressurize the system as mentioned above but with one change. I'll add a hose bib splitter at the city water inlet, attach the compressor to side A of the splitter, and attach a pressure gauge to side B of the splitter. Then with both splitter valves open, pressurize the system to 45 PSI as measured at valve B, close valve A, and pray that the pressure gauge at valve B does not budge.
The backflow preventer will prevent that from working. That is how I test the pipes in the house but I remove the backflow preventer first.

So I'll attach the pressure gauge to the outside shower hose using an appropriate adaptor (half-inch thread to hose thread), open the cold water shower valve, attach the compressor to the city water inlet, pressurize the system to 45 PSI as measured at the pressure gauge, close the valve on the air compressor hose, and pray that the pressure gauge does not budge. Then do the same on the hot water valve. I'll do the same at the kitchen sink in case there is a backflow preventer at the outside shower.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:53 PM   #8
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It may help people diagnose this if you state which of your Airstreams is leaking since they are all a bit different.

To some degree finding the answer is eliminating all other possibilities.

It is difficult and unnecessary to drain the last gallon out of the water heater. They are made to accommodate freezing when mostly drained. The average city water system is somewhere around 60 psi, so I set my compressor to 60 psi.

Does it happen when on city water or using the fresh water tank only? On at least some Airstreams the fresh water tank is close to the water heater and could have a leak confusing the issue. Are the three valves for the hot and cold water lines and the fresh water tank all closed completely and not leaking?

Some food dye in the water heater may help you trace where the water comes from. At the least it may tell you if the water heater is involved. That would reduce the search to only cold or hot water pipes.
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:10 PM   #9
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Update. Made it to Borrego Springs...80's here. When hooked to city water, leaks under water heater. When using water pump and on board water system, no leaks ..heater on or off. No leak with water pump on. Thinking maybe fresh water line from city fill to water heater cracked? Or?? Where do I get to it to find.? No obvious water I see inside, but have not taken apart lower cabinet to look...
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Update. Made it to Borrego Springs...80's here. When hooked to city water, leaks under water heater. When using water pump and on board water system, no leaks ..heater on or off. No leak with water pump on. Thinking maybe fresh water line from city fill to water heater cracked? Or?? Where do I get to it to find.? No obvious water I see inside, but have not taken apart lower cabinet to look...
Is there a low point drain anywhere near the water heater?
'Cloudsplitter" has one, that I forget about on occasion.

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Old 02-26-2021, 02:00 PM   #11
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Can you access the water heater from inside to inspect all pipes and fittings? And how far is the city water connection from the heater?
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:45 PM   #12
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I had similar situation where water was dripping out of anywhere it could along the street side of AS. Only when city water was on. Ended up being a loose connection on the backside of the city water inlet. Removed exterior screws in the inlet plate, pulled out enough to tighten fitting. Hope yours ends up being that simple.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:39 AM   #13
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Seems like you have isolated it to the city water system. That makes the search easier, but not necessarily easy. I'd start at the easy places, like the connection to city water and work your way to where the two systems (city water and water from your fresh water tank). Fortunately you can use the fresh water tank for water.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Can you access the water heater from inside to inspect all pipes and fittings? And how far is the city water connection from the heater?
I did lift the cushions on the L-couch and there was a slight drip to one of the connections to the heater, but not much water on floor. I was able to hand tighten it so no more drip, turned on the pump and water heater...didn't see the leak after an hour. Checked it yesterday again, no obvious water leak, so put back together and we headed to San Diego Mission Bay for few nights. I have not re connected the city water here...just filled the holding tank and using electric.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartsDad View Post
I had similar situation where water was dripping out of anywhere it could along the street side of AS. Only when city water was on. Ended up being a loose connection on the backside of the city water inlet. Removed exterior screws in the inlet plate, pulled out enough to tighten fitting. Hope yours ends up being that simple.
Gene thinks same perhaps. I will take a look tomorrow. I did replace that connection couple years back when I first got her...I was relocating to another site in WA park, and forgot to unhook the power and hose...(pulled the water connection out of the trailer!) I called AS, and they said, "sounds like a warranty issue" and were nice enough to send me a new connection overnight for free! I will pull out tomorrow and inspect with city water connected to see if that gets it. Sure hope so. I don't see any water when I look under the oven with flashlight, so not sure where to look if the outside connections are good. Will update when I get to that point. Thanks again!
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:26 AM   #16
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I do think that may be it and since it is easy to fix and you have experience with the part, probably the thing to focus on.

This and reports from others also raises the question whether there had been (or is) a problem with an inferior part that leaks frequently and is something for others to watch for.

I don't know which of your trailers is the one with the problem. We had the same 2008 model and never had that problem. It is quite likely they changed part suppliers since '08.

I'm trying to remember if I ever started moving without disconnecting everything. I did leave on the "foot" for the jack very early in our Airstream experience and plowed a nice furrow through the campground. I could see someone in my mirror waving their arms wildly and stopped. After that the foot fit better in the shaft, so it was an improvement. I don't think I've moved and left the power and water connected—but give me enough time and surely I will. The steps have been left down once I think, but never left the antenna up. I have always remember to make sure Barb is with me when we leave anywhere. A few times the TV set was unsecured and flailing around (nothing broken). If you haven't done one of those things, at least, you aren't traveling enough.
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:10 AM   #17
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Can you access the water heater from inside to inspect all pipes and fittings? And how far is the city water connection from the heater?
City water hookup is about 6-8 feet away, midship above rear tire. First leak we saw was in rear tire well like where AC drain may occure. Did not connect the leak to city water. Next night in Borrego, we were on paved site and I set up with slight slant forward for sleeping..(heads up a little). Anyway next morning is when i noticed the water dripping pretty good under water heater. I plan to take apart the inlet today and see if it is the connection.
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
I do think that may be it and since it is easy to fix and you have experience with the part, probably the thing to focus on.

This and reports from others also raises the question whether there had been (or is) a problem with an inferior part that leaks frequently and is something for others to watch for.

I don't know which of your trailers is the one with the problem. We had the same 2008 model and never had that problem. It is quite likely they changed part suppliers since '08.

I'm trying to remember if I ever started moving without disconnecting everything. I did leave on the "foot" for the jack very early in our Airstream experience and plowed a nice furrow through the campground. I could see someone in my mirror waving their arms wildly and stopped. After that the foot fit better in the shaft, so it was an improvement. I don't think I've moved and left the power and water connected—but give me enough time and surely I will. The steps have been left down once I think, but never left the antenna up. I have always remember to make sure Barb is with me when we leave anywhere. A few times the TV set was unsecured and flailing around (nothing broken). If you haven't done one of those things, at least, you aren't traveling enough.

Gene- we are in a 2017 28' now...have not done the "left the foot down" thing...yet! I did however, see a newer AS pull into the dealer few years back with kayaks and bikes on top of their TV...obviously just returning from a camping trip....all 4 stabilizer jacks still extended but, nicely bent "swept" pointing to the rear of unit now....when he hopped out, he was just stopping in to ask a question...my wife pointed out the stabilizers extended...but now facing the rear....his wife jumped out and started yelling at him...his mouth wide open! (we quietly slipped away during the firework show!)
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:32 AM   #19
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Pressurize the system with air and listen for the hissing sound.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:44 AM   #20
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Pressurize the system with air and listen for the hissing sound.
Yea, thought of that when I get home. Funny thing as I mentioned, when not on city water, the pump holds psi...no leak sound, even left on all night to check...no water/no cycling sound at all...forgot it was on! I will do the pressure test when i get back to TX end of the week if I don't see anything by removing the inlet today. Thanks.

Just wondering if the lines are accessible all the way from inlet to water pump. Guess I will see shortly...
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